New York Academy of Sciences to Host Malaria 2014 Symposium on World Malaria Day

Researchers will discuss advances in malaria pathophysiology, biology and drug development—all critical to mitigating, and eradicating, this deadly disease.

NEW YORK, April 22, 2014 - Approximately 3.3 billion people (one half of the world's population) are at risk of contracting malaria. With more than 650,000 malaria deaths annually, there is still much work to be done before this disease can be controlled. On April 25, World Malaria Day, the New York Academy of Sciences will present the Malaria 2014: Advances in Pathophysiology, Biology and Drug Development symposium to examine breakthroughs in three critical areas of scientific research: 1) pathophysiology, 2) pre-erythrocytic and liver stage biology, and 3) drug resistance and drug development.

This timely and forward-looking symposium will bring together many of the world's leading experts on malaria disease and related areas of scientific inquiry to examine the latest developments in understanding disease processes and the biology of the parasite, as well as antimalarial drugs and candidate vaccines.

"The malaria parasite is a wily foe and doesn't surrender its secrets easily. Because many people can carry the parasite and not have symptoms, and because the illnesses it causes resemble many others, attributing symptoms to the parasite is not straightforward. Understanding how the pathogen kills is the first step toward developing effective adjunct therapy for malaria," says keynote presenter Terrie Taylor, DO, University Distinguished Professor, Michigan State University, who will present on the pathogenesis of fatal cerebral malaria.

Increased prevention and control measures have led to a 25% worldwide reduction in malaria mortality rates since 2000. However, those living in the poorest countries remain the most vulnerable to malaria; nearly 90% of all malaria deaths worldwide occur in developing countries, mostly among children under five years of age infected with the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

"Drug resistance is a real and present danger in Southeast Asia. In Western Cambodia, where artemisinin resistance is the most prevalent, the efficacy of frontline artemisinin-based combination therapy has decreased dramatically in recent years, and now fails to cure nearly half our patients," says keynote presenter Rick M. Fairhurst, MD, PhD, Chief, Malaria Pathogenesis and Human Immunity Unit, LMVR, NIAID, NIH, who will present on drug-resistant malaria.  "Mapping the geographic extent of artemisinin-resistant parasites is our highest priority now, so that effective drugs can be deployed to eliminate them and prevent their further spread beyond mainland Southeast Asia."

To see the full symposium agenda, including the list of speakers, visit www.nyas.org/malaria2014.

For media inquiries, including press passes and interview requests, contact Diana Friedman (dfriedman@nyas.org; 212-298-8645).

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The New York Academy of Sciences

The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization that since 1817 has been committed to advancing science, technology, and society worldwide. With 22,000 members in 100 countries, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. The Academy's core mission is to advance scientific knowledge, positively impact the major global challenges of society with science-based solutions, and increase the number of scientifically informed individuals in society at large. Please visit us online at www.nyas.org.